Monday, January 04, 2010

The Fourth Gift of Christmas

Tudora is a pattern I've been wanting to knit since it first showed up on Knitty. I just didn't want to knit it for me. It certainly would have been a more sensible introduction to cabling than the eternal Not-Quite-A-Blessingway blanket. Back then, though, I was entirely too easily intimidated. Now, well, knitting intimidation is not an issue. With the plan to knit for the female "out"-laws I had the perfect excuse.

You wouldn't think it, but this required a lot of swatching. The pattern called for a "firm fabric." The recommended yarn was an aran weight tweed, gauge 18 stitches/4 inches, but knit for the pattern at a gauge of 22 stitches/4 inches. The Malabrigo Silky Merino wasn't going to work single stranded, not without some major pattern modifications and a lot more knitting. Having only achieved pattern modification success 50% of the time, and with Christmas doing that thing where it only gets closer, I chickened out opted to consider other methods. Double stranded on the recommended needle size still left me with too many stitches per inch, although with a fabric that was - firm. Not wanting to turn over a gift made of the knitting equivalent of cardboard, however, meant more playing with the yarn and pattern than I had allowed time for.

It was time well spent. Undeniably.

It was not the most interesting piece I've ever knit. Up until the last inch and a half or so it's basically a 4 by 4 rib rectangle with a cable twist every other rib. The fun started with the binding off of lots of stitches at a go to shape the piece. I especially liked the clever bit where you don't knit the last stitch in the row and then use it to slip over for the first bind-off of the next group. It made the shaped edge much smoother, with subtler changes in depth. Less like a flight of stairs.

Details. Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Topaz, double-stranded.
Needles: Addi turbos, US 7/4.5 mm.
Modifications: None.
Way cool button found at a new, improved, humongously expanded JoAnn Fabrics.

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